Winter Trip: Elon University MBA and Law China: January 15, 2012: Elon Conquers the Great Wall

Today should be called “Sunday Funday” in Beijing because the MBA and Law students had such a blast!

Our day kicked off with a tour at the Jade Museum. Jade is a jewel that is greatly valued in China and proved to be pretty popular amongst the Elon-folk as well.  Lots of students and faculty will be bringing back their family and friends jade (and if they don’t, check their wrists and hands for bracelets and rings because they must be keeping them for themselves)!

Our next stop was the Sacred Walk that led to the Ming Tombs.  The Sacred Walk is lined with marble statues of Chinese guards, elephants, camels and lions. The statues are large in stature, incredibly striking and great to pose with. After taking the Sacred Walk we were free to visit the tomb of Emperor Changling who was the third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Only two Emperor’s tombs are available to the public, so we took the opportunity to visit Changling.  The Chinese believe that after visiting a tomb a person’s soul may get left behind, so our tour guide and new friend Sheila told us it was important to yell “I made it back” as we were exiting the archway of the mausoleum.  Sheila wanted each of us to ensure that our souls were returned with us to the United States!

Because the Chinese believe in eating well, we were served another great meal at lunch. The greatest part was that  it was Sunday brunch, which meant that there was entertainment along with the meal. While we ate sweet and sour chicken, duck and other Chinese specialties there was a magic show, card tricks, singers and other various performers.

After we had eaten a great lunch we were more than prepared for our busy day.  Our afternoon consisted of conquering the Great Wall of China and the Silk Market. The Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and we are happy to say that we got the fabulous opportunity to experience one of them while we were in China. Visitors to the Great Wall can climb the wall but they have to be prepared for hard work. The wall is very steep and very long.  Most of us spent forty-five minutes climbing and another forty-five minutes heading back down. On our trip up we met other climbers who were from North Carolina. We couldn’t believe that we traveled across the world and as we were climbing the Great Wall we ran into some of our neighbors! After we conquered the Great Wall the entire group sat around at a local coffee shop drinking hot chocolate and reveling in our experience.

Our last stop on our day’s adventures was at the Silk Market. The Silk Market tested our negotiation skills with the locals. The silk market is a five story building full of goodies ranging from shoes to jewelry to purses to tea sets. The prices in the Silk Market are not fixed so we were busy haggling with the locals and trying to get the most we could for our money.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Elon has taught us to negotiate well because we came out of the Silk Market with bags full of things.  We are concerned that when we fly to Hong Kong we will have to pay extra baggage fees because we all have bought so many things here!

All in all, our second full day in China was a huge success. The history, shopping, culture, food, and the Great Wall are experience we will remember forever.

—Ashley Hansen, Melissa Apperson & Meghan Varner—

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